Many Contribute To Win

While Daunte Culpepper led the Vikings on two late scoring drives for a victory Sunday, several players made big contributions.

From the artistic sense, Sunday's 22-19 win for the Vikings wasn't pretty. With eight minutes to play in the third quarter, the Lions had the ball and a 19-7 lead. But the Vikings made a comeback using several big plays from key players to earn the victory.

The plays began with Nate Burleson, who disguised his intent to call a fair catch that picked a 15-yard Lions penalty when he got hit that started the Vikings comeback in motion. On the ensuing drive, Daunte Culpepper converted five third downs, including a pair of passes to Burleson and two Moe Williams runs. Defensively, the Lions had the ball three times in the fourth quarter and never picked up a first down, thanks to one of Lance Johnstone's three sacks and Antoine Winfield's fourth interception. Even Darren Bennett got in the act with a booming fourth-quarter punt.

It was a team victory all the way. With a chance to see their division title hopes fade away, the Vikings got the job done -- although it wasn't the prettiest sight, a win is a win.

* A pair of coaching decisions left a lot of fans shaking their heads Sunday. The first was by Mike Tice. After scoring to cut the deficit to 19-13, Tice went for a 2-point conversion. The feeling was that, by getting the two points, if the Lions marched back down and got a field goal, the Vikings would be down by seven points and could still tie. The Vikings conversion chart apparently says that when down by six you go for two -- even though under the same thinking scenario, if the Vikings didn't get the conversion and the Lions kicked a field goal, they would be behind by nine point (two scores) instead of trailing by eight points with the potential to tie if they kicked the extra point.
* Steve Mariucci will be second-guessed this week for not declining a penalty that led to the game-winning points. On a third-and-2 play from the 5-yard line, Mariucci accepted a pass interference penalty on Marcus Robinson, instead of setting up a fourth-and-2 from the 5-yard line. Tice told VU after the game, he planned to kick a field goal in that spot, but it became a moot point when the Lions took the penalty. On the next play, Culpepper hit Williams for a 14-yard pass to the 1-yard line. Williams would score two plays later -- the deciding points of the game.

* Nat Dorsey suffered a shoulder injury that will be evaluated today. VU has been told that Dorsey will likely miss several weeks and might end up on injured reserve. Adam Goldberg will start in Dorsey's place next Sunday.
* Chris Hovan's streak of 69 consecutive starts ended Sunday. He only took part in about 15 plays, finishing with one shared tackle.
* The specials teams remain a concern. The team allowed Eddie Drummond to return the opening kick 92 yards -- the fourth return TD of the season for Drummond.
* Lance Johnstone's three sacks Sunday give him 30.5 for his Vikings career -- making him the 11th Viking to top 30 sacks.
* Dave Dixon made his 146th start at right guard Sunday, tying him with Milt Sunde for the all-time team record for right guard.

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